When she is here, it is in brief moments, poignant, joyful but too short. I visited her recently, and she saw me and said my name. That moment was pure gold. My sister says she goes to her “other place” often, sleeping and perhaps dreaming of others gone but more accessible to her in this time and space.

 

By Julia Prentice

This is Fall, the time of leaves and leaving.

My mother is leaving us, first mentally and now physically. It’s been a long, slow and painful goodbye. As the sunlight is waning, the colors once bright are now fading, she is fading too.

A once talented pianist now only plunking a few wistful notes at the keyboard. She still sight reads, playing from a book on the piano, but doesn’t know the words to the Beatles song, Let it Be, despite that song being so appropriate for this time.

When she is here, it is in brief moments, poignant, joyful but too short. I visited her recently, and she saw me and said my name. That moment was pure gold. My sister says she goes to her “other place” often, sleeping and perhaps dreaming of others gone but more accessible to her in this time and space.

Who, living, knows where that place may be but she is visiting it more frequently each day.

Later during that same visit she struggled to say anything, mostly managing an, “I don’t know” when asked questions. However, one time I was there she was being changed in bed. The turning and lifting and moving was interminable. She became frustrated and called out, “Can we please get this over with!” Her voice was strong in that moment and those words sent a chill through my heart.

Was this a metaphor for her desire to have this phase over?

As a Buddhist, I don’t believe in an afterlife, though this life is too cold, too heavy and too painful for her to stay in. I know suffering comes with attachment to an outcome, yet the inevitable seems unbelievable—my mother would not be “here.”

It is cruel to watch and harder to feel—this leaving.

All my family and I wish for: comfort and peace for her. The other place somewhere in the realm beyond, is the right place for her now.  As she transitions, less and less of her comes back each day.

The veil is thinning, her time is ending.

The anticipatory grief is gut wrenching. And, I choose to feel it all. No pushing away or grasping at what if’s or why’s, just being, breathing and remembering the good.

That is the only way I can be at this leaving time.

 

Photo: Pixabay

 

From the Connecticut originally, Julia now lives in North Carolina, US with her soulmate and their furry companion. Past careers include ASL interpreting, preschool teaching and tutoring. Currently she is a passionate Peer Supporter of persons with mental health challenges, a certified W.R.A.P. Facilitator and Certified Peer Specialist. In her spare time she’s a writer, knitter, crafter and singer. Her poetry is published in seven books, and several blogs. 

 

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